Attitudes Toward the Middle East Peace Process: Surveys of Arab and Jewish Opinion in Israel and Public Opinion in the United States

At an event on Thursday, December 9, Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and nonresident senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings, unveiled the results of three new polls: One about American public opinion toward the Arab-Israeli conflict, one among Jewish citizens of Israel, and one among Arab citizens of Israel, covering a wide range of issues.

Download survey results:
2010 Israeli Arab/Palestinian Public Opinion Survey » (pdf)
2010 Israeli Jewish Public Opinion Survey »(pdf)
2010 U.S. Public Opinion Survey » (pdf)

Key Findings:

Among the findings of the American poll, is that one quarters of Americans polled believe state that the Arab-Israeli issue is one of the top three American interests, and two thirds say it’s among the top five American interests.  71% of those polled support American diplomatic efforts to mediate the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and two thirds want the United States to “lean toward neither side,” 25% want American diplomacy to lean toward Israel, and 2% want the US to lean toward the Palestinians.

The difference between Republicans, on the one hand, and Democrats and Independents on the other, are striking on this issue: 46% of Republicans want American diplomacy to lean toward Israel, in comparison with 14% for Democrats, and 11% for Independents.

In the two polls among Jewish Israelis and Arab/Palestinian citizens of Israel, there are a number of timely findings pertaining to defining Israel as a Jewish state, the proposed “loyalty oath” and the prospects of peace. Both Jews and Arabs in Israel have a more positive view about President Obama personally, than do Arabs in the Arab world.  Jewish Israelis are divided on Obama: He is the third most admired leader and the second most disliked. 45% of Arab citizens of Israeli still have a favorable view of Obama, but that’s down from over 70% in 2009. Strikingly, the most admired leader by Jewish Israelis is a German: Angela Merkel.